A long-lasting light bulb

My dear spouse and I purchased this 1911 wood-framed, two-story home, located at 335 S. Monroe St., Tiffin, in 1985. With the home came “the light bulb.”

The light bulb to which I refer was in the upstairs walk-in closet mounted on the ceiling in an old white ceramic socket connected to a small metal junction box. It was nothing eye-catching. It was nothing spectacular. But with the passing of years, its character became one of amazement cloaked in mystery.

Just looking up at it, one only sees a clear, single-filament bulb slightly blackening on the inside with age. Standing on a plastic stool, a keener eye notices it’s a “Sylvania 75 watt” bulb with an early Sylvania emblem stamped on the very top. I recall seeing this exact bulb style at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., a few years back.

So why is this light bulb so special? Well, it has been on the job in my closet for at least 28 years. It shows signs of age, but no signs of quitting. Since I have been chaining this bulb “on” and “off” for 28 years, I often wonder how many more years this light bulb has lit the closet before we purchased the house. Five? Ten? Fifteen years? Longer? After all, by conservative estimate, I personally pulled its chain, turning the light bulb “on” and “off,” more than 30,000 times.

Now, I have tried these newer “lifetime” bulbs. Did have one that lasted just over a year before it died. Many died in less than six months. Some never made it to three. All were expensive.

This old Sylvania bulb that is still on the job most likely cost around 5 cents in its day. It’s still going strong. So now I wonder. Will this exceptional Sylvania 75-watt bulb also outlast me? If I were an old, betting man – which I am both – my best guess would be without doubt or question, quite possible!

Richard Hughes, Tiffin